If you clicked on this article, you?re likely into comics. You might have even come across the term ?Webtoon? 무료웹툰 or ?Webcomic? on the internet.
Just what exactly?s the difference?
Webcomics are digitalized versions of physical comic books for online reading. The truth is, it wasn?t optimized for smartphones. It stuck with swiping left and right. Worst of most, it?s mostly in black and white (though some might disagree on the color scheme)
So you might be asking yourself, ?Just what exactly is webtoon??
In layman terms, it?s colorized manhwa (Korean comics) made simply for smartphones where you scroll vertically instead of the standard page flipping.

The First Generation
Originating in Korea, the term ?Webtoon? is relatively new in the comics industry. It?s a variety of ?internet? and ?cartoon.?
It started with Chollian, a now-defunct Internet service engine, that established Chollian Webtoon to provide webtoons to readers in August of 2000.
What made it different from other online comics was its introduction of the vertical-layout. Most online comics at that time followed the traditional horizontal layout designed for PCs (landscape style).

Marine Blues (left); Pape and Popo Series (right). Credit: Kim?s Licensing
Following the emergence of webtoons, an influx of indie webtoons jumped in to the scene.
Early webtoons were named standalone (known as an omnibus in Korea) slice-of-life stories. Some popular comics include Snow Cat, Marine Blues, and Pape and Popo Series. Unusual at that time, each was self-published online by its authors rather than through magazines or editorials.
Not too long after, webtoons quickly became widespread as the internet became popular and became more accessible.

Leaning on the fast-growing popularity of webtoons in the early 2000s, Korean internet portals like Daum and Naver took benefit of webtoons to increase their web site traffic.
As their pivotal internet growth strategy, Daum and Naver pumped vast sums of money into webtoons. Also it paid. They achieved massive commercial success far beyond their predictions.

The Catalysts
Webtoons are incredibly popular now. To give you a concept, Naver has over 46 million monthly active users (July 2018). How?d this happen? Two reasons why.
For starters, from 2003, Daum recruited cartoonists like Kang Full to create webtoons on their internet portals called ?World in Manhwa.? It featured works like Kang Full?s Love Story (a record-breaking hit). Other successful comics include Kang Do Ha?s The Great Catsby and Yang Young Soon?s 1001.

The second reason is due to accessibility to smartphones. You’re probably envious of people playing Angry Bird on their brand new iPhone while you miserably held your flip phone back 2010. Smartphones were just too expensive.

But in the 2010s, increasing numbers of people bought smartphones capable of playing games a lot more technically demanding than Angry Birds like Pokemon Go and PUBG (PlayerUnknown?s Battlegrounds).

To no surprise, South Korea quickly rose to 67% smartphone ownership in 2013. And to boast the numbers further, a 2019 report indicates that it?s now at a fantastic 95%, holding the record today as highest on the planet.